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10710 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: Aug 12, 2011 2:41 PM by ManikSona 1 2 Previous Next
cherryblossom24 Rookie 2 posts since
Jul 20, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 28, 2011 10:11 AM

Tummy trouble

I've been running since I was a kid and I have my first marathon coming up in a month.  After long runs and races I end up miserable most of the day with bowel problems and a miserable stomach.  Lately I've been doing serveral half marathons but I don't want to die after my marathon.  I've found that anti-diahrea pills help some, but I'm not sure that's the healthiest way to go.  Any ideas?

  • Terranss Legend 268 posts since
    Feb 14, 2011
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    1. Jul 28, 2011 12:02 PM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    Do you have a pre-race diet ritual?  Sometimes people develop sensivities to foods that they've enjoyed for years.  A common one is lactose tolerance.  If you normally have dairy the morning of your races, you may need to switch that out for soy/almond milk.


    Also, what do you consume during your runs?  Some people have reactions to running gels, which contain maltodextrin (and often caffeine, which some people also don't handle well either).


    If you plan on changing anything about your diet, sooner is better than later; this gives you time during training to see if the changes are working.  Best of luck, and you start to feel better!

  • Urbster Legend 760 posts since
    May 27, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jul 28, 2011 9:18 PM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    I'm also am a  lucky runner with the trots.    I learned over the years for me no fiber, no alcohol, and no take out or questionable foods like Mexican or Chinese and if I give in  I bring TP on the next days run, which I do all the time anyway.     What was normal for me before I ran changed and every day now, run or not,  I know whats coming.    There is no pain.   It there is pain involved then I believe that is a much bigger problem.   Race day I take a big giant swig of Kaopectate but not on my normal run days, so far it's worked fine and there is not much info on possible overdosing.  You would probably just get bound up if that happened.   If you can figure out a way to stop the trots completly PLEASE post that!!



  • JasonFitz1 Legend 578 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jul 29, 2011 10:28 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    I found that the best strategy is to make sure you use the bathroom before you run. If you get everything out, you'll be fine!


    Make sure you have enough time before you run to do this. Tips to help:

    • Drink a lot of water to promote gastric emptying.
    • A little caffeine (tea or coffee) can help you go.
    • If you eat, keep it light and easy digested (little or no fiber)


    Bringing some TP with you is a good idea, and so is running in an area with public bathrooms!


    But some people are just sensitive. Even though you'll probably get over this stage, if you have stomach problems after the race, at least it didn't happen during the race.


    Good luck!
    - Jason.

    Strength Running
  • PaquetRunning Amateur 17 posts since
    Jul 24, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jul 29, 2011 11:22 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    When are you running during the day ? What do you eat ?


    Don't start anti-diarhea pills. It's just a question of diet. Before running, I am eating only 1 banana, 1 hour and a half or 2 before my running. It fills a need.. and doesn't stuff much. If you run just after breakfast, lunch or dinner.. then it is no surprise than your body responds in such a way.

  • NancyLFreeman Legend 243 posts since
    Feb 17, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jul 29, 2011 2:16 PM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    It sounds like it could be an electrolyte problem - have you tried a sports recovery drink or salty snacks (like pretzels) immediately after your long runs?



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  • angu12 Rookie 5 posts since
    Apr 16, 2010
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    6. Aug 3, 2011 5:42 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    Hi, I saw your post and was wondering if you intake any amount of foods with the sugar alcohol maltitol in the several days prior to your long run. This would be in sugar-free gums and candies, as well as some sugar-free packaged pudding and some other sugar-free items. I finally figured out that this was a major contributor to the same types of tummy troubles that I recently was having. Other sugar alcohols, as well as synthesized sugar replacements (e.g., Splenda) cause me a similar problem, but not to the extent that maltitol did.


    I completely eliminated maltitol containing foods, along with most foods containing other sugar alcohols and other sugar replacements, and have nearly nixed the problem. Occassionally, I do still have a similar type of problem when I eat too many fruits on the day prior to a run over 5 miles and limiting fruit to 4 servings a day usually prevents the problem.


    Sugar alcohols cannot be digested so they sit in your intestines and basically ferment, creating a lot of gas. For the non-runner, this may be fine. But for runners, particularly some that are more sensitive, for whatever reason, they do some weird thing along with other remaining food in your intestine. For me, I could literally feel my intestines "turn liquid" at some point during a long run, and then I knew I was in trouble. Similarly, some fruits can have a similar type of effect, maybe because of slower digestion, particularly those with a high fructose/glucose ratio (e.g., mangos, apples) versus those with lower (e.g., bananas).


    I'm hedging on the maltitol and other hidden sugar alcohols, which you should completely eliminate. I found that these affected me as long as 3 days before a longer run. Fruit adversely affects me in the same way, but only the day prior if I eat more than 4-5 servings.


    Hope this helps!

  • angu12 Rookie 5 posts since
    Apr 16, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Aug 3, 2011 5:53 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    Another consideration is fructose intolerance:

  • RunningAwayinTN Amateur 26 posts since
    Feb 25, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Aug 4, 2011 11:21 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    I agree with what the others have said. Foods you eat, watch sugar alcohols, etc.


    Also, I started taking a probiotic supplement about a month ago and has made a HUGE difference for me. So that is just something else you might check into.

  • cyclemom2013 Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Aug 4, 2011 2:41 PM (in response to RunningAwayinTN)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    I was the same way...I tried everything.  Eating before, during, after run.  Finally, I figured that I needed more fluids.  NOT just water.  I discovered Vita Coco water and I drink it before I run( just a few ounces) then drink a little on my run ( I stop at water fountains a couple of times during a 6 mile run) then I drink more coconut water.  It is better than Gatorade and I didn't feel so sick after my last half marathon!!  Good LUCK!!

  • mtnrunner2 Rookie 2 posts since
    Feb 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Aug 4, 2011 8:26 PM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    Hydration, electrolytes and food, in that order.


    I used to have stomach trouble after as few as 10 miles, especially on mountain runs with a lot of hills. I found I was WAY underdoing water, losing salt and not eating enough when I was hungry. Now I can pretty much run all day provided I have these 3 things.


    First I would try to make sure you are getting all the water you want. In other words, just think if you could stop and drink all the water you wanted, how much would you drink (not enough to burst, but just to satisfy)? Then, if you are sweating make sure you are getting salt/electrolytes from something like S-caps. They also help avoid cramps. Finally, if you are hungry during the run eat something. Training your stomach to be able to consume food or at least some form of energy like Clif Bloks or Gu during exercise will help.


    When your stomach shuts down it's because it thinks you are in a life-threatening situation and digestion is secondary to whatever so-called "emergency" is going on. All the above things serve to keep your body on an even keel and help it to regard intense physical activity as normal and not as a life-threatening situation. Hopefully your body will respond by acting smoothly and normally.

  • jclick Rookie 5 posts since
    Mar 13, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Aug 5, 2011 3:51 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    Jeez... I'm just glad to hear I'm not the only one. We normally run early in the morning so I figured the things I have at night contribute to my "bowel issues". I thought it was milk... I cut that out but it's still happening. I do chew alot of sugar free gum (with sugar alcohol). Maybe cut that out? Last night I had chicken breast, corn and mushrooms for dinner... nothing exotic... and this mornings run, well, bowel issues! Not sure what to cut out or add?

  • julie09714 Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 15, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Aug 5, 2011 4:05 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    Both corn and mushrooms are difficult to digest, so definitely lay off those before running. If "natural" remedies don't work, the one prescription med that helps with bowel problems is Lomotil. Ask your doctor about it.....

  • Sarahhil Rookie 1 posts since
    Sep 20, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Aug 5, 2011 5:56 AM (in response to Terranss)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    I am running my first half in October and suffer greatly from the during-run issue.  Can you describe a solid pre-race ritual that I could begin now to be ready in October. Thanks! 

  • brandeeo Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 28, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Aug 5, 2011 8:43 AM (in response to cherryblossom24)
    Re: Tummy trouble

    I've had the same problem on my runs that are over an hour.  After talking with my doctor and a couple other people I've had to make a few changes to my diet and it has seemed to help a ton!  The day before and the day of my long runs I eliminate caffiene, raw veggies (salads, broccoli), and dairy from my diet.  I also make sure that I stop eating 2 hours prior to starting my long runs. I make sure to drink a ton a of fluids the day of my run but 2 hours prior I just take small sips rather than large gulps of water. I also bring water with me on the runs.  I figured that the shot blocks and sports beans with caffiene were probably not a good idea either.  I now eat orange slices and/or pretzels on my long runs if needed.  Definitely make sure to use the bathroom before you head out the door. My doctor suggested taking 1 immodium prior to the long run as well.  Since I've made these changes I had little to no problems.

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